This topic contains 12 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  Justice Doughty 1 year, 3 months ago.

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  • #14842

    okay so i am getting my portfolio together(its lookin real good too :) ) and i have been contacting places to see if they are open for an apprentice(i know its time consuming and all that jazz) and i have already gotten some no’s but about half them were very helpful(one told me a artist to talk to, and she told me no but to take my work around cus thats how she got started and 2 of them told me to come in and talk to them cuz they can tell me who to go to as in what cities in the state are looking.)

    well anyways one guy is looking to expand his shop and told me to bring my work in and he would need to draw up a 2 year contract(which i am expecting from anyone) and that i would need to pay him a fee for it. i asked for an extimate just cus i have NO money i would need to take out a loan. he said i would have to go in to see him in person to discuss any details like that. he also is only available by appointment.

    my question is how normal this fee thing is and about what kinda price is it usually(on average) cus i will need to beg, borrow, barter, etc to get any money together.

    thank you so much.

  • #21117

    I know a lot of pros and some of them never apprenticed, but I know for a fact none of the guys I know paid a fee to be an apprentice. The fact that they didn’t get paid, did all the bitch work around the shop while learning and had to hold down jobs to pay their bills meant they didn’t have the money to pay a fee to apprentice.

  • #21118

    Thank you nedmanders, for your post. I was going to post one similar myself.
    Seems like where i live, more and more shops are selling apprentice courses.
    One of them asked me the equivalent of 400 usd. :o

    I didnt take it.
    Not only because i have a full-time job, and i cant hang around the shop all day, neither because of the the amount, but mainly because i feel that one apprenticeship must be based on trust, true dedication (apprentice-mentor and mentor-apprentice), and the love for the art itself.

    Now im stuck being a scratcher going for a self taught path. :(
    Ridiculous as it may sound, its impossible to be a web-apprentice? lol i mean, having a mentor on the internet?

  • #21119

    i just went to a shop and he mentioned a “usual range” of 5000 to 8000?

  • #21120

    a apprenticeship shouldn’t cost anything but hard work, sacrifice, sweat and tears!!!That’s how i paid for mine!!!

  • #21121

    @robroy289 wrote:

    a apprenticeship shouldn’t cost anything but hard work, sacrifice, sweat and tears!!!That’s how i paid for mine!!!

    i wish more “professional” tattoo artists would think about that… im trying to up my portfolio both in tattoos and in artwork to try and get one… got shot down on my first one… plus he wanted just wayy too much he was talking like 7500 for the one year apprenticeship and 40 hours a week of being a dog.

  • #21122

    Man that was allot cash bro! I hope you have found somewhere by now. I do not understand why these places are trying to charge like this for an apprenticeship!?? If you absolutely with out a doubt have to, then i would pay no more than $500 to $1000 for one.. I do believe that you need some sort of mentor-ship but, and i am sure that im gonna get blasted out for this but, get some clientele built up, take and get certified in BBP classes and disease control, stack some cash get yourself a Autoclave and slowly get all that you will need for a few months and try to open your own studio.. Just make sure to go by all the rules and regulations in your state and pay all the legit fees… Thats just my opinion…

  • #21123

    Yep it’s an epidemic, from people I know, we got one shop out this way saying 10 grand for a one year apprenticeship with the comment, (try to goto college for less than 10k a year!) BAH!!! I would never charge an apprentice for the learning. My last one was made to sign a 5 year contract, 2 years apprentice, 3 years working for me exclusively for his training. He phased himself out, but that’s besides the point. The ONLY bill I told him he would have to come up with was about 800 for his equipment, inks, and starter stuff, and even that wasn’t due until he hit the level when he was ready to start working with the machines! If a shop is making you pay you should have a clear course. If you are paying to be taught then how many hours is the artist going to dedicate to you each week to teach you, when will you be expected to be doing certain things and so on. Maybe more of these places should be hit with the whole, “ok if I’m paying for you to teach me then what, when and how often can I expect mentoring from you?”
    Agree with the above guy, no one wants to teach you then start studying the internet everyday and practice. Either you make it and keep your clients healthy and happy, or you don’t and get reported for giving out free infections, the choice is yours young Jedi!

  • #21124

    IMO, if the artist fist starts talking $$$ and length of contract before anything else then run – don’t walk – run in the other direction.

  • #21125

    Here in my area shops all charge for apprenticeship… Why? Cause they can, and people will pay it with the dream of being on some TV tattoo reality show some day. All these TV shows are affecting the industry in many different ways, both good and bad. There are some shops charging CRAZY money too, $10,000 is highest I have heard.

    Yes, I paid for my apprenticeship. Not a lot in my opinion (just over $1,000), my mentor even said the only reason he charges anything is because he has found people take it more seriously if they have to pay something… which I agree with. As Spider mentioned about contracts… my contract is very detailed as to what I will learn, the time-frame is approximate (which is good cause I am moving quicker than it states), I am not a go-fer nor the shop janitor although I do standard cleaning of my area that would be expected of anyone. And as best I can tell from internet research on lowest pricing… I got $800 worth of brand new equipment. He also accepted that I have a full-time job and is flexible with my schedule during the week.

    I did my research on all the shops in a 50 mile radius of me (and there are over 70), I looked at all their online portfolios & their bios. Then I visited my top 10 shops (based on what I saw in their portfolios and bios) to get a feel for the atmosphere, customer service and cleanliness. Then I went back to several with my portfolio, I got apprenticeship offers from all but 1 shop and they all were charging. Lucky for me, the shop that kept landing at the top of every list was also charging the least.

    So it comes down to this… If the mentor is a good artist & technician, and the shop/business is run properly – then you have to ask yourself “What am I willing to pay to learn to do what he does”. If the potential mentor has a crap portfolio and the shop is a disease waiting to happen… then even if the apprenticeship is free, what are you really going to learn?

  • #21126

    It is been really shocking that apprenticeship fees been taken up

  • #38317

    Thought I would share this from Bob Baxter. For the newbies it might give a little insight into why shops are so hard to get into, and why artists prefer to see either A: you work your a** to the bone every single day, or B; pay for your apprenticeship. Read on…..(and yes this is far more the normal than the exception unfortunately),
    The tattoo world has changed considerably over the last ten years, and even more during the last twenty. What was an aberration a couple of decades ago is getting to be commonplace today. Take for example the news that tattooist Leo Zulueta had driven past his SoCal tattoo shop, Black Wave, on South La Brea after hours, to see if one of his staffers was using the shop to work on customers without letting anyone know. In other words, taking the money and not giving the shop its cut. When you’re trying to maintain a successful business, it makes it all the harder when underlings are taking the proceeds behind your back. I recall the scuttlebutt as to whether Leo was being a responsible shop owner or simply a tad paranoid. Turns out, he was doing the right thing: protecting his interests and being a responsible businessman. At that time, tattoo employees taking things behind the boss’s back was unthinkable, as tattoo artists at the time (two decades ago) considered themselves members of one big family. As the Musketeers so bravely shouted: “One for all, all for one.”
    A roll of paper towels here, a pack of needles there, shops with employees in any business are known to cushion their paychecks by jobbing everything from paper clips to table lamps… and not asking first. Yes, finding dedicated employees who are one hundred percent honest and work as a team is perhaps the most difficult part of operating a business. The fact is (according to a new University of Cincinnati survey), sixty-four percent of the small businesses surveyed experienced employee theft, but reported it only sixteen percent of the time. And why do employers let it slide? It seems other factors such as emotional ties to the employees and the difficulty of finding people who show up on time or have an appropriate skill level is not only challenging but, in some areas of the country, downright impossible.
    And if it isn’t paper clips or a jug of green soap, it’s knowledge: the education and hands-on training a newbie artist receives from a boss and other experienced members of the team. It’s not unheard of for second or third-tier tattooists to suddenly gather everything they can from an established shop, including its clients and reputation, and take it with them out the door and down the block. One artist I talked to entered his shop one morning and found that an aspiring young artist, who had worked by his side for ten months, had packed up, cleaned out his drawer and left a Post-it note on his empty barber chair, with the short but stinging message: “Bye.” This mutineer sought greener pastures, opening his own storefront a scant five blocks away.
    While finding and hiring support staff can be challenging, especially in situations where the talent pool is limited, communication is sometimes even more difficult. What is protocol when an artist wants to move on and have his or her own tattoo shop? Back three decades ago, when an employee wanted to strike out, they made sure it was geographically respectful. Case in point, Good Time Charlie Cartwright opened his shop, End of the Trail Tattoo, in remote Modesto, California, so as not to bump elbows with established shops in the City by the Bay, some ninety-two miles away. Nowadays you hear of shops opening ninety-two seconds away, down the street and around the corner.
    Some of these shops make it—after all, they keep the same customers they gathered at their previous location—and others soon discover that there’s more to owning a tattoo shop than drawing pictures on people’s skins; responsibilities such as buying an autoclave or keeping an adequate stock of paper towels. This can be especially disruptive when one has to pay for it themselves. After all, taking something that belongs to you isn’t as cost effective as swiping it from someone you work for.
    —Bob Baxter

  • #38586
     Justice Doughty 

    I’m stuck here too. I’m looking around and trying. I built up the best portfolio I possibly could and I keep getting told it doesn’t matter how good it is, there’s a fee and that’s all that matters? Seems like a load of shit. No wonder there’s so many kitchen table tattoo artists these days :/

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